By staff writer
December 2018 – 2 min. read
December 2018 — Miami’s Underline officially broke ground in November 2018. The city’s version of Manhattan’s famed High Line has already begun phase one of its five-phase development plan, with the first phase currently underway in Brickell. The project, which was proposed just five years ago, has received massive support from the state, city, county and local community and is expected to create thousands of jobs.
The idea for the project originated when Meg Daly — founder and CEO of Friends of the Underline, the nonprofit organization behind the project — suffered a serious injury that forced her to rely on the Metrorail to get to and from physical therapy.
In doing so, she noticed how wide the area under the tracks was and how much shade the tracks offered, and thus the idea for the Underline was born.
“2019 will see construction of the first half mile of the Underline’s Brickell Backyard,” said Daly in a recent conversation with Invest: Miami. “2019 will also see the second phase from Brickell to Coconut Grove in the design phase.”
The park will run for 10 miles underneath Miami’s Metrorail and span over 120 acres, stretching from downtown Miami to Dadeland. It strives to provide an alternative mode of transportation for civilians in the area, as well as foster community engagement and recreation. In addition to offering biking and walking trails, dog parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, the project will also showcase the city’s blooming art scene.
“Led by Friends of the Underline Art Advisory, in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places and curated by Ximena Caminos, the Underline’s public art will feature local, national and international emerging and established artists that will engage and connect visitors to place and each other,” Daly told Invest:.
The project’s goal of offering alternative transportation to civilians while also providing ease of access to the city’s metrorail is significant due to the city’s traffic issues. The South Florida Business Journal reported that Miami drivers spent an average of 64.8 hours in traffic last year, according to a report from Intrix Inc., which also estimated that this congestion costs local drivers an average of $1,762 a year.
Given the project’s potential to alleviate some of the city’s traffic and its potential for job creation, it should come as no surprise that it has received massive support at both the state and local levels. Phases one and two have been funded by Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida and the City of Miami. Phase one also yielded funding from the Florida Department of Transportation. Earlier this month, the Knight Foundation awarded Friends of the Underline $500,000. With the total costs of construction estimated to be around $120 million, however, there is still plenty of room for the public to take part in the project.
“Supporters can generously donate at theUnderline.org/donate and/or attend our many community-building events, including health and wellness programs sponsored by Baptist Health South Florida, support of our four-legged friends on February 2, 2019 and attend our upcoming Underline non-gala in the fall 2019,” said Daly.
Phase one is expected to be completed by June 2020. Given the project’s velocity thus far, it shows no signs of delay or slowing down.
For more information on the project, our interviewee and ways to donate, visit www.theunderline.org.